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UAE unveils new AI model to rival big tech giants

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The UAE is making significant strides with the launch of a new open-source generative AI model, positioning itself as a major contender in the global AI landscape.
Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute (TII) recently unveiled the Falcon 2 series, which includes Falcon 2 11B, a text-based model, and Falcon 2 11B VLM, a vision-to-language model capable of generating text descriptions from images. TII, overseen by Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council, is at the helm of this groundbreaking initiative.
As a significant oil exporter and key player in the Middle East, the UAE is heavily investing in AI, attracting attention from U.S. officials. This has sparked debates over technology preferences between American and Chinese options. In alignment with Washington’s stance, Emirati AI firm G42 transitioned away from Chinese investments, securing a substantial US$1.5 billion investment from Microsoft.
Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council, asserts the UAE’s growing prominence in AI. The release of the Falcon 2 series is part of a larger global race to develop proprietary large language models. Unlike some who keep their AI code private, the UAE, akin to Meta’s Llama, is committed to sharing its groundbreaking work openly.
Al Bannai expresses enthusiasm for the forthcoming Falcon 3 generation and is confident in the UAE’s ability to compete globally. He highlights the nation’s agility in making strategic decisions as a decisive advantage.
Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, controlling some of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds worth approximately US$1.5 trillion, plays a pivotal role in accelerating AI and other cutting-edge technologies. The UAE is emerging as a significant player in producing advanced computer chips essential for training robust AI systems. Discussions about potential investments to establish an AI chipmaker further underscore the nation’s ambition.
Additionally, the UAE’s dedication to generative AI is evident in its recent launch of a ‘Generative AI’ guide, aimed at unlocking AI’s potential across various sectors while addressing challenges like data privacy. This guide serves as a valuable resource for government agencies and the community, showcasing practical AI use cases across different domains.
In summary, the UAE’s proactive approach underscores its commitment to leading the global AI race, positioning it as a nation to watch in the ever-evolving tech landscape.
Source: artificialintelligence-news.com

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Easyjet, eyeing record summer, boosts nerve center with AI

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Easyjet’s cutting-edge facility, equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), is now operational near Luton airport, managing approximately 2,000 flights daily across Europe as the airline anticipates heightened demand for the summer season.
Known as the Integrated Control Center (ICC), this facility plays a pivotal role in Easyjet’s operations, facilitating swift adjustments to flight schedules and monitoring aircraft health in real-time. Situated near London, the center boasts advanced capabilities, including engine analysis and even monitoring of onboard facilities like toilets.
As the aviation industry rebounds from the impacts of COVID-19, Easyjet has ramped up its recruitment efforts, doubling the workforce at the control center to 266 employees, who work tirelessly around the clock, overseeing operations displayed on large curved screens.
Gill Baudot, Easyjet’s director of network control, emphasized the airline’s anticipation of a busy summer season, projecting a significant increase in passenger numbers to 300,000 daily. The ICC plays a crucial role in adapting swiftly to any disruptions, from adverse weather conditions to technical issues, ensuring smooth logistics and minimizing passenger inconvenience.
To enhance decision-making during critical situations, Easyjet has integrated an AI tool similar to ChatGPT, aiding staff in tasks such as aircraft rerouting and crew assignment. Despite technological advancements, Baudot stressed the importance of human judgment in making final decisions.
Throughout the pandemic, Easyjet, under the leadership of CEO Johan Lundgren, has recognized the potential of data-driven solutions to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency. Lundgren highlighted the role of technology in optimizing various aspects of airline operations, from predicting catering needs to facilitating predictive maintenance decisions.
Mark Garrett, overseeing customer disruption at Easyjet, emphasized the center’s focus on passenger welfare, ensuring prompt communication and prioritization of flights, particularly those with significant numbers of children or group travelers, in the event of disruptions.
As Easyjet navigates through the challenges posed by COVID-19, its investment in technology, automation, and AI reflects a commitment to adaptability and efficiency in serving passengers and maintaining operational excellence in the aviation sector.
Source: techxplore.com

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Building better ethical standards for AI, for democracy

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In our swiftly advancing digital realm, Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents both a formidable challenge to and a significant opportunity for the health of democracy. One emerging threat to democratic systems stems from malicious actors who seek to exploit AI to disrupt societal cohesion.
The unchecked proliferation of AI language models has underscored the urgent need for robust ethical standards. Core principles such as privacy, algorithm transparency, user safety, fairness, and inclusivity have often been overlooked amid the rapid progress of AI technologies. Establishing and rigorously testing clear ethical guidelines is crucial to ensuring that AI operates within ethical boundaries and contributes positively to the common good.
A comprehensive approach is necessary, one that protects free speech while empowering users to identify and address bias and harmful content. Initially, efforts should focus on detecting and analyzing disinformation, biases, discrimination, hate speech, and deepfakes. Sophisticated tools leveraging machine learning and natural language processing techniques can be developed to identify and scrutinize harmful content in real-time. These tools should be tested with diverse user groups to safeguard free speech.
Furthermore, AI’s proactive engagement with misinformation can play a vital role in shaping public discourse. By actively countering falsehoods and promoting accurate information, AI-powered tools have the potential to guide conversations toward truthfulness and mitigate the spread of misinformation. This proactive approach not only limits the dissemination of harmful narratives but also fosters a culture of accountability and accuracy in digital spaces, enhancing public trust in AI’s ability to combat misinformation.
In addition to detection and engagement, the implementation of automated reporting systems is crucial in safeguarding democratic institutions from threats posed by state or terrorist-backed actors. These AI-powered systems can swiftly identify and flag harmful content to hosting platforms, enabling timely intervention and moderation. Streamlining the reporting process allows platforms to respond effectively, preserving the integrity of online discourse.
Transparency tools are also essential in building user trust and facilitating informed decision-making. By offering insights into the origins, legitimacy, and credibility of digital content, these tools empower individuals to navigate the digital landscape with discernment. From tracking sources to verifying links and fact-checking, transparency tools enable users to critically evaluate information and contribute to a safer online environment.
AI presents both opportunities and risks for democracy. It is imperative to ensure that AI aligns with our shared values to strengthen democratic institutions and uphold the highest standards of ethics and transparency. By prioritizing inclusivity, fairness, and accountability, we can harness AI’s potential to bolster resilience, safety, and trust in our democratic systems.
Source: diplomaticourier.com

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AVPN launches $15M AI Opportunity Fund with Google.org, ADB support

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AVPN, the premier network of social investors headquartered in Singapore, has unveiled the $15 million Artificial Intelligence (AI) Opportunity Fund: Asia-Pacific, in collaboration with Google.org and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In a statement released on Monday, AVPN outlined the fund’s objective as a three-year initiative aimed at equipping Asia’s workforce with essential AI knowledge and tools necessary for the evolving job market. The goal is to ensure that opportunities presented by AI are accessible to a broader spectrum of people in the region, particularly those from marginalized communities.
Through an open call, the fund seeks to identify and select non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and workforce associations across the Asia-Pacific region that effectively engage with workers most affected by AI-driven workforce transitions. Selected organizations will receive comprehensive support, including guidance, financial assistance, and customized AI training based on foundational courses developed by Google and its partners.
Scott Beaumont, President of Google Asia-Pacific, emphasized the transformative potential of AI in the region, stating, “AI presents tremendous opportunities for the Asia-Pacific region, but it’s crucial to equip people with the skills needed to thrive.” He expressed confidence that the AI Opportunity Fund will empower underserved communities and ensure widespread benefits from AI advancements.
The initiative comes at a time when employers in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly optimistic about AI’s ability to enhance productivity. However, concerns persist among employees about potential job displacement due to AI automation, particularly among disadvantaged populations. Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO of AVPN, underscored the urgency of building an AI-ready workforce to unlock Asia’s full potential and address the socioeconomic impact of AI-driven job transitions.
Jason Rush, Principal Regional Cooperation Specialist at ADB, emphasized the importance of bridging skills and knowledge gaps in underserved communities to facilitate access to AI-driven opportunities. He highlighted the AI Opportunity Fund as a crucial tool to support organizations in upskilling and reskilling workers, enabling them to benefit from the evolving job landscape shaped by AI technology.
AVPN, comprising over 600 funders and resource providers across 33 markets, aims to enhance the flow and effectiveness of capital in Asia by enabling members to channel resources towards impactful initiatives. Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, collaborates with nonprofits, social enterprises, and civic entities to address societal challenges and create scalable, meaningful change. Through their combined efforts, AVPN and Google.org strive to harness the potential of AI to promote inclusive growth and opportunity across the Asia-Pacific region.
Source: technode.global

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